BioNTech Founders visit the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, marking new innovative possibilities for combatting cancer.

La Trobe University was recently announced as the new home for the manufacturing of investigational mRNA therapies, for the global biotechnology company BioNTech, in a multi-year strategic partnership with the Victorian State Government. The facility, to be located at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, is based on the Company’s high-tech, digitally enabled modular manufacturing units, the BioNTainers.

The facility will not only produce mRNA therapies but also drive research into mRNA-based vaccine and therapy development, with a focus on addressing cancers with high unmet clinical need. BioNTech, renowned for its ground-breaking work alongside its partner, Pfizer in creating the world’s first approved COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty® (BNT162b2), stands as a global leader in next generation immunotherapy. The company is at the forefront of pioneering novel therapies for cancer, and other serious diseases.

In a significant event held in October 2023, BioNTech co-founders Professor Uğur Şahin, Chief Executive Officer, and Professor Özlem Türeci, Chief Medical Officer, visited the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, La Trobe University’s School of Cancer Medicine. The visit preceded a special ceremony in Melbourne, where Professors Şahin and Türeci, together with Professor Sharon Lewin AO (Director, Doherty Institute) were presented with an Honorary Doctor of Science by La Trobe University Chancellor, the Hon John Brumby AO, who is also the past inaugural Chair of the ONJCRI.

Accompanied by their team, the BioNTech founders were joined by members of La Trobe University’s Senior Executive Group and staff, as well as representatives from mRNA Victoria, the ONJCRI Board of Directors and Austin Health.

The day commenced with an insightful tour of the ONJCRI facilities, guided by Institute staff and students, and concluded with a presentation by Professor Marco Herold, Chief Executive Officer of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and Head of the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine.

Expressing enthusiasm about the partnership, Professor Herold said;

“We are excited by this strategic partnership between BioNTech and La Trobe University to explore mRNA technology innovations for the treatment of currently incurable cancers. As an Institute with key strengths in immunotherapy, we are eager to embark on collaborative projects with BioNTech to harness the power of mRNA technology for effective cancer treatment”.

Image source: La Trobe University